Welcome Back, Sports

As I write this, my favorite NBA team since childhood, the Los Angeles Lakers, have just won their record-tying 17th world championship. It was the culmination of what we will know as literally, and figuratively, the longest NBA season in history. It lasted over a calendar year, and dealt with COVID-19, racial unrest in our country and the death of Kobe Bryant, among other things.

But in the end, basketball is still basketball. Despite playing the final months of the season in a “bubble” at Disney World, absent any fans, the game is still played on 94 feet of hardwood. There’s something comforting in that. With all that’s happened this year—remember when the Pentagon admitted that UFOs exist and they’ve been tracking them for years?—it can be a bit overwhelming to deal with.

Yet, after months of being away, sports returned to our lives. College and professional football games are being played on the weekend. Major League Baseball played a shortened regular season before entering their own version of the “bubble” for the playoffs. Yes, it’s different not having the stands jam packed with screaming fans, and seeing “COVID” pop up on the injury list is certainly a new phenomenon, but being able to turn on the television and watch your favorite team compete for a few hours is a nice escape from the world we currently live in.

I enjoyed watching this NBA playoff run maybe more than any other I’ve witnessed over the years. Maybe it was because we went so many months with no sports. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, as they say. However, what I’ve enjoyed most about this year was being able to watch all the games with my son, Kingston. He loves sports as much, if not more, than I do. So being able to sit together and watch our favorite team hoist that championship trophy in the air as confetti rained down made the moment extra special.

So as we enter November and the season of Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the return of sports. It may seem small in the grand scheme of life, but it has provided joy to my household this year, as I’m sure it has millions of others.